A review of research adds to evidence that people who work in sales may have a slightly elevated risk of bladder cancer -- particularly women.
Studies have found higher bladder cancer rates among people in various occupations, including hairdressers, textile workers, truck drivers and workers in the rubber, leather and chemical industries. A number of studies over the past 20 years have also found sales workers to be at higher-than-average risk of bladder cancer.
For their study, Drs. Andrea Mannetje and Neil Pearce of Massey University in New Zealand analyzed previous studies on occupation and bladder cancer risk. They found that when other factors were considered -- including smoking, a major risk for bladder cancer -- women in sales occupations had an 18 percent higher risk of developing the disease than those in other jobs. The studies varied in their findings on men, and there was no clear overall association between sales jobs and bladder cancer. There was, however, some suggestion that men in car sales had an elevated risk, the researchers report in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Still, it's not yet clear that there is any true cause-and-effect relationship between sales jobs and bladder cancer, Mannetje told Reuters Health. "This review of the literature only shows that there is a small increase in bladder cancer risk for female sales workers," she said. One plausible hypothesis, Mannetje explained, is that sales workers have less time for bathroom breaks and take in less fluid throughout the day -- which might affect their cancer risk because the bladder has a longer contact with potentially cancer-promoting substances in the urine.